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Cyclist Hit On Magothy Bridge Road

Jeff Schomig hopes his accident will bring safety to the forefront for cyclists and drivers.

For three years we lived in London and I avoided driving.  I couldn’t have been happier to be without a car.  But now we are back and every day I feel like I am spending more and more of my time behind the wheel avoiding or being slowed down by other cars, pedestrians and cyclists.  It is easy to become frustrated. It is easy to forget that the people in those cars or crossing that road in the cross walk or riding on their bicycles are all out there for a reason as well.  But we need to make sure we stay focused and watch out for each other as well travel our local roads.

As I sat in the theater with my family Sunday afternoon, I received an email that had me heading for the lobby – Cyclist Hit by Pickup Truck in Pasadena.  Pasadena resident Ben McKeown had forwarded me the email after reading seeing it on his cycling club’s distribution list.

Jeff Schomig, a member of the Severna Park Peloton rides through the roads in Pasadena on a regular basis.  Generally, he is joined by several members of the Peloton but on Sunday he was riding on his own.

As he was heading down Magothy Bridge approaching the intersection of Magothy Bridge and Soaper Avenue, he noticed a full-sized black pickup truck approaching the stop sign at the corner.  Though Schomig did not have a stop sign, he did what he has been taught for safety and made eye contact with the driver, waved and shouted thanks before continuing into the intersection.

When he was about a yard from the truck, the driver of the pickup revved his engine and headed out directly in front of him.  Though Schomig put on his brakes he was still clipped by the bed of the truck, knocked into the gravel and lost control of his bike, finally tumbling to the ground.

According to Mr. Schomig, the truck then slowed down, the driver looked back long enough to see that he was getting to his feet and then took off again.  After assessing his injuries and making sure his bike was still intact, Schomig contacted the police.

“I was really impressed with their response,” Schomig said.  “When the officer showed up I could hear over his radio all of the other officers who were trying to find the driver and the effort that was going into it.”

Unfortunately, the driver was not found.

Schomig’s initial reaction was that the driver was playing games.  He didn’t believe the driver meant to hit him but at the tie he thought he had meant to scare him.  Since then though, with a calmer head, he thinks there is a possibility that it really was an accident.  But, like the rest of my cycling friends, Schomig believes there is a lot that drivers and cyclists can do to make the roads safer for each other.

First, he thinks it is really important for cyclists to be predictable.  In many cases this is easier said than done.  While there are sometimes shoulders for cyclists to ride on there is often debris in them that causes a rider to have to swerve back into the road.  The three foot law that recently went into place should help this situation.  If we, as drivers can give the cyclists a three foot berth when passing them, they have more room for error.

Schomig made a second point as well.  “I don’t think drivers understand just how fast a cyclist can go on a road bike and just what that means when it comes to stopping.”

One of the greatest dangers cyclists face is a car that pulls out in front of them.  Sometimes it is at an intersection but often it is during a right hand turn.  Cyclists on road bikes are riding fifteen miles an hour at the low end but many cyclists in this area ride well above that.  Being aware of that and avoiding heading in front of them could save their lives.

As a final note before we ended our conversation, Schomig offered to share the route the cyclists ride most often through Pasadena.  It is his hope that by being aware that cyclists are on these roads, drivers will take more care when traveling them.  You can find the route the club travels through Pasadena at Map My Ride.

Michael Berry March 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Very glad to hear he is OK. Also happy to hear about the impressive police response. Thanks for the article. Mike B.
Don McDowell March 12, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Thanks Ann. As a fellow cyclist and occasional car driver, I share both sides of this equation. I have noticed that since I started riding, I am more aware of cyclists. Maybe we just need to get everyone riding bikes!
Mark Facciani March 12, 2011 at 10:09 AM
I've had many close calls in Pasadena. Both cycling and running. Been hit with bottles, people pulling out in front of me...you name it. I am just happy that Jeff wasn't seriously injured. Ride on!! Mark F.
Joseph March 12, 2011 at 10:51 AM
Glad your OK. I live on MBR and see you guys all the time and wave, always getting a nod or wave back. MBR is and has always been a "bad road" for speeding, burning tires and motorcyclist popping wheelies. I wish the AACPD could allocate more resources to catch these idiots. I've said when one wipes out I won't call 911, but of course I would and offer assistance. I've lived here for 20 years and it only seems to get worse. Trying to exit from my driveway onto MBR is always an adventure. Maybe AACO should install a light at Raynor and MBR. Hey AACO any thoughts?
Jeff S March 16, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Thanks for the write-up, Ann. As the biker at issue in this story, I should add that, this incident notwithstanding, my experience with area motorists has been overwhelmingly positive while biking. Drivers that I encounter are typically far more accommodating of me than I used to be of other bikers before I took up the sport. On several occasions while waiting at red lights, drivers have asked me about the bike, how far I’ve gone, inquired about local clubs and how to get started. The SPP actually has business cards that we can hand out with our website and contact information for those interested. I always carry a few while out riding.
Shawn B March 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM
First and foremost, thank goodness the rider is okay. That said, how horribly wrong that the driver chose to leave the scene. Understandably, the driver should have been extremely upset at what just happened, but the answer was certainly not to leave.
Bernard Miles April 01, 2011 at 12:10 PM
As a cyclist, I have also had my share of incidents in the Pasadena/Glen Burnie area. More needs to be done to educate drivers and raise awareness about sharing the road with cyclists. It should be included in all driver education programs and as part of the driver's license test. True accidents will still occur from time to time. However, I have seen or been involved in situations where drivers ignore the cyclist's right to the road or otherwise berate them or purposely try to "scare" them by aggressive driving, or by throwing objects. This should in no way be tolerated or allowed. Laws against these types of actions should be passed and strictly enforced. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, there will be more and more bicycles on the roads. On the other hand, cyclists will have the obligation to be cognizant of and adhere to the rules of riding on the road. It is just as unsafe for a cyclist to be riding in an unlawful or dangerous way as it is for a driver. Yes, I have seen cyclists running redlights, stop signs, and zig-zagging in and out of traffic. This will in no way help our (the cyclists) cause. It seems as if the subject of the story was riding in a safe and proper way. I am glad he was not seriously injured.

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